Are you too stressed to dress to impress for your job interview? Unaware of how your dress affects the manner in which people relate to you? What message are you relaying to your possible future employers?

The first impression you make is crucial to securing your future job

Imagine if you will that you are the employer, and that you are interviewing candidates for a position at your company. It’s obvious that the industry that you are in will impact on how you present yourself. A prospective fashion consultant or make-up artist will have to present themselves very differently to say an attorney applying at a law firm. While the attorney will not have to pay as much attention to being fashion conscious or having used the right technique in applying the seasons make-up palette, the person applying for the job to give fashion advice will have to sell themselves with themselves as their best product. I cannot give tips for every career out there, but there are a few general rules that will most definitely put you ahead of the rest.

1. Clothes should be well-fitted

This does not mean that it should be tight, or revealing, but instead that it not hang loosely or create an unkempt appearance. If you can’t afford an expensive suit (which unfortunately 9 out of 10 times tend to fit the best), try to perhaps have it tailored to suit our body shape and figure. This will definitely not cost you an arm and a leg, though the tailor might suffer a few pricks and cuts.

2. A classic suit is the safest

And ladies can show more of their personality by using suitable accessories, while gentlemen can do so with their choice of tie. A classic cut jacket will always be a good option. Pin-stripes create a more powerful or authorative feel so just keep that in mind. For ladies, this can be worn with either a skirt or pants. If you are wearing a skirt though it should cover the knee or be just above, and one should always wear a new, run-free pair of stockings if wearing a skirt to an interview. Shoes should be practical and suit the outfit that one is wearing.

3. The trick with accessories is to make sure that they don’t overpower the individual

For example the earrings one wears to a party might be pretty, but aren’t necessarily what you would wear to an interview. Minimalistic jewellery usually works best:  petite earrings and a chain in a tone that suits the colour of your attire and complexion, for example brown shades are usually complemented by gold or mother-of-pearl jewellery rather than silver.   Ties with stripes or plain ties are better suited for interviews and its best to stick to neutral colours such as blue, yellow, black and red, or even pastel blues and pinks. Purple and orange on the other hand will most definitely have your interviewer focused on your tie rather than you and your CV. The jewellery that a gentleman should wear is limited to a wristwatch and a wedding ring if married.

4. Short, clean nails apply to both ladies and gents

And if ladies groom their nails care should be taken to ensure that nails aren’t too long or painted in unsuitable colours. Nail art is something best left for the weekends.

5. I know it might seem common sense, but hair should be clean and groomed

If time and finances allow, gents should get their hair cut in the week preceding their interview.  Ladies should choose to style their hair appropriately. Either sleek and blow-dried or placed in a chic pony-tail or conservative bun. Teased hair with tons of hairspray is not the best look for an interview.

6. While cleanliness is of the utmost importance, avoid wearing too much perfume or cologne

The other people in the room might not like that particular scent, or they might just have sensitive noses, and too much scent could set them off on a sneezing frenzy.

7. It’s best to aim to arrive at least 15 minutes earlier than your allotted interview time

It allows you time to collect yourself before the interview and prevents you from being late for your interview. It also gives you time to perhaps visit the bathroom should you need to.

8. Most of all, relax!

Your CV will speak for itself.  Make eye-contact with everyone on the interview panel when greeting or answering a question, and not just with the person who may have asked you a question, or who smiles the most at you.  Be polite, and keeps your answers concise. Speak clearly and most of all remember to smile.

About The Author

Matthew Cole Fincham  is a Training, Fitness & Nutrition Specialist.  He was a finalist in the Mr South Africa 2013 Competition and has competed in seven fitness shows, always placing in the top five.  He won FAME Nationals in 2007 and went onto compete in Canada on the world stage.  He won Mr Pretoria 2011 & Beeld Bachelor of the Year in 2012.  Matthew is a Health fanatic and believes in Wellbeing as a complete lifestyle and giving back to his community.  He is the Champion of Bramley Children’s Home as well as a Committee member for Child Welfare Tshwane. You can follow him on the Web, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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